Any American who has gone grocery shopping in 2021 has felt the pain of skyrocketing prices of beef, pork, chicken, and virtually every other common type of consumed meat.
Not surprisingly, it took President Joe Biden and his administration long enough to realize the problem, given how out of touch with reality they seem to often be, but this week, the White House announced an initiative that aims to bring meat prices back down to reasonable levels, according to the Washington Examiner.
What’s the plan?
Throwing out their favorite “woke” word, the Biden administration wants to make “the food system fairer and more equitable,” from the farmers all the way down to the end consumer.
In short, it was announced that the goals of the new initiative will aim to address “illegal price fixing, enforce antitrust laws and bringing transparency to the meat-processing industry.”
Farmers and ranchers will also be the recipients of extended relief from natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, both of which have played roles in the rising costs.
The administration will also reportedly pressure Congress to pass legislation that will “make cattle markets more transparent and fairer.”
“All together, these actions will help build a food system that works for the American people above all else,” National Economic Council Director Brian Deese wrote in a statement announcing the administration’s efforts.
The USDA’s role
Given that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plays a significant role in regulating the meat processing industry, it comes as no surprise that the agency will spearhead several efforts to bolster farmers who have been impacted by natural disasters and the pandemic, among other events.
“Small producers, processors, distributors, farmers markets, seafood processors, and food and farm workers impacted by COVID-19,” will be eligible for some $1.4 billion in pandemic-related relief alone.
A sum of roughly $500 million in funds set aside by the American Rescue Plan will be used to “support new competitive entrants to expand local and regional meat and poultry processing capacity.”
That seems to be a bipartisan effort, as it was only earlier this year that a group of roughly two dozen Republicans and Democrats from both chambers published a joint letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland in which they said that the “the anticompetitive practices” in U.S. meat industry “are unambiguous.”
While the Biden administration’s plans sound at least somewhat reasonable, it would be ill-advised to get one’s hopes up that meat prices will recede anytime soon, as the plan has to survive government red tape and everything else that comes with the territory.